YWCA Greenwich Domestic Abuse Services Statement
Along with the Greenwich community, YWCA Greenwich is deeply concerned and saddened by the ongoing developments regarding the disappearance of Jennifer Dulos of New Canaan. Domestic violence is suspected, and YWCA Greenwich is the only state-designated provider of domestic abuse services in the community.
From court documents, we know Ms. Dulos was afraid of her estranged husband and was fearful he would retaliate against her for seeking a divorce. In an affidavit she claimed, Fotis Dulos had exhibited “irrational, unsafe, bullying, threatening and controlling behavior.”
We know that in 2017 she was denied a request for emergency relief to have full custody of the children but a year later was granted full custody because the court found Fotis Dulos had lied to the court and had put his children in danger.
“Unfortunately, the burden of proof of abuse is put on the victim,” said Meredith Gold, Director of YWCA Greenwich Domestic Abuse Services, “and often it takes more than one hearing before the court for a victim of abuse to be believed.”
Domestic abuse may present itself differently from case to case, but it always involves a pattern of abusive behavior used to establish power and control over a spouse, dating partner or other intimate partner through fear and intimidation, often including the threat of physical violence.
The most dangerous time for a victim of domestic abuse can be when the person leaves the abuser, which is why safety planning is critical for anyone experiencing domestic abuse. Professionals in the area of domestic violence are trained to help victims think through all the scenarios that can help keep them safe, including providing shelter.
People from all backgrounds, ethnicities, religions, races, socio-economic status and education levels are impacted by domestic violence equally.
“The case of Jennifer Dulos is a reminder that domestic violence permeates all areas of society,” said Mary Lee Kiernan, President and CEO, YWCA Greenwich. “At YWCA Greenwich Domestic Abuse Services, we respond 24/7, and all services are free to anyone who reaches out to us.”
Domestic violence continues to be the most reported violent crime and the second most investigated crime in Greenwich. YWCA Greenwich services include 24/7 hotlines, crisis intervention, group and individual counseling, emergency shelter, civil and criminal court advocacy and more. Education, professional training, community awareness and prevention programs are also critical components of the programs delivered by YWCA Domestic Abuse Services.
If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic abuse, call the YWCA’s 24/7 hotline at 203-622-0003. All calls are confidential.
Law enforcement is asking citizens who may know anything or have surveillance footage to contact the New Canaan Police Department.